Fast Facts About Listeria Monocytogenes

Listeria monocytogenes infects approximately 1,600 people in the U.S. each year, killing roughly 20% of them — making it one of the deadliest pathogens found in food.1

Unfortunately for food manufacturers and operations with salad bars and delis, Listeria is a particularly dangerous pathogen. This is because many raw items such as meats, poultry, seafood, and some fruits and vegetables may carry Listeria monocytogenes – a microorganism that not only survives but can also grow at cold temperatures which makes these types of establishments especially vulnerable to contamination.1

Improper or infrequent cleaning and sanitizing can allow Listeria monocytogenes to grow to high levels in these settings.1 The pathogen often hides in cracks and crevices on surfaces and equipment, leading to cross-contamination of ready-to-eat foods.2

According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service, here are a few “Best Practices for Controlling Listeria monocytogenes”:

  • Develop detailed written sanitization procedures for equipment
  • Clean and sanitize utensils and equipment used with ready-to-eat foods frequently
  • Ensure proper levels of sanitizer concentration
  • Prevent spreading bacteria via contaminated reusable cleaning tools (e.g., rags, sponges, mops)2

Click on the resource below to learn more about Listeria monocytogenes and how preventative measures are necessary to prevent transferring this dangerous pathogen to otherwise safe food.